The impatience of Job

We talk about the “patience of Job,” and that makes him seem like a meek and mild fellow who heroically and stoically endures waves of misfortune from God and the devil. Don’t buy it. Job is a whiner, a complainer. “Is not...

God’s phone number

Half a century ago, phone numbers had prefixes as well as numbers (such as ESterbrook 9-3392), and the Roman Catholic Mass was in Latin. “Dominus vobiscum,” the priest would say. “Et cum spiritu tuo,” the altar boys would...

Waiting for Alzheimer’s

The other day, I was talking with some friends about movies, and somehow the conversation got onto the film “Elf.” There was a point I wanted to make about the actor who played Will Farrell’s father in the movie, but, for the...

Lincoln, work and prayer

“Orare est laborare.” That’s the motto of the Benedictine order. It means: Working is praying. By most accounts, Abraham Lincoln wasn’t terribly interested in organized religion. But that’s not to say he wasn’t spiritual. As...

In Austin

I grew up in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago. I am the oldest of 14 children, and one of my jobs, growing up, was to watch my younger sisters in the afternoon after school. We lived on the second floor of a two-flat at 135 N...

My funeral service

At 62, I know the creakiness of my body. My knees ache. My back tightens up. Still, I’m in pretty good health. But my baby brother John, who is 57, had a heart attack recently. Dave, a guy with whom I play basketball twice a week, suddenly...